Photo: Stephanie Davis / WWJ

Protesters Arrested For Blocking Road Near Detroit-Windsor Tunnel Ahead Of Debate

Upwards of 200 people were protesting immigration downtown Detroit.

July 31, 2019 - 6:22 pm

DETROIT (WWJ) -- Nearly two dozen protestors were arrested for blocking a roadway in downtown Detroit late Wednesday afternoon ahead of the second night of the Democratic presidential primary debates at the Fox Theatre.

More than 20 people sat down in the middle of the street at the intersection of Jefferson Avenue and Randolph Street, in front of the entrance to the Detroit-Windsor tunnel, blocking the entrance between the U.S. and Canada. They sat there for about 30 minutes until they were arrested, causing backups along Jefferson.

The protest was organized by an immigrant-led group known as Cosecha Movement. Organizers told WWJ's Stephanie Davis they were protesting because they "just want respect for the immigrant population." They were hoping the demonstration sends a message to the Democratic presidential candidates that if and when they get elected, they want them to fight for immigrant rights and the protection of the undocumented population in the U.S.

The protest, which saw upwards of 200 protesters with signs on the sidewalks, continued after all the protestors that were sitting in the road near the Renaissance Center were arrested.

Detroit police had not commented on the situation.

"Because of the border, it separates our families, day in and day out," protester Cindy Gamboa told WWJ. "(Immigration and Customs Enforcement) is in our neighborhoods everyday, harassing our communities. They're kidnapping the parents of kids, school-age children. They don't come home at the end of every day." 

Gamboa said many protesters were prepared to be arrested.

"We want to make sure whoever is debating down at the Fox Theatre gets a clear message that they need to have a solution to this terror that's happening," Gamboa said.

The second night of debates is got underway at 8 p.m. at the Fox Theatre, with former Vice President Joe Biden, New Jersey Sen. Corey Booker, California Sen. Kamala Harris and New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio headlining the candidates.

Stay tuned to WWJ Newsradio 950 for the latest on this story and debate coverage throughout the night. >>> LISTEN LIVE